an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2021-22


Puma Perl


Even though they’re old enough to have kids of their own.

Which they say they never will.

Maybe it’s because I wasn’t a good mother.

We ate chicken wings and pizza for dinner

and Crunch and Munch for dessert.

I had too many boyfriends and too little money,

there were dishes in the sink and dirty laundry

in the corners and beds stayed unmade for days.

I left my mother’s house knowing nothing.

I couldn’t even boil an egg.

My mother wouldn’t let me near the stove

because of her stated belief that I was “retarded”

and would probably burn the house down.

When I earned a Master’s Degree with honors

My aunt exclaimed, “You’re not stupid!”

“Your mother always said you were stupid!”

I’ve never became a chef or a housekeeper.

My son invented a way to make crepes suzettes using

Entenmann’s doughnut crumbs when he was six.

He’s became a great cook.

My daughter’s aunts taught her to make pernil.

Her apartment is always spotless.

I like babies and dogs more than adults

but I’m okay with never having grandchildren.

I might have to bake and go to children’s movies.

At least that’s how I picture it.

We would need traditions.

We never had traditions.

In many ways, my kids raised themselves.

They might not want to raise anyone else.

Except dogs and cats.

But I never called them stupid

and they still call me Mommy.


Puma Perl is an award-winning poet, writer, and journalist, and has five solo collections in print. The most recent is Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books, 2019.) She was the producer and creator of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band, Puma Perl and Friends